[Yes, I realize that I still haven't written what happened in Port Angeles.]
Edith remained at the edge, under the shadows cast by the thick canopy of leaves. She seemed nervous. That was somewhat disturbing. After what happened in Port Angeles I had to remind myself that I didn't need to be afraid of her, she had done what she had done to protect me, so even if it was scary it wasn't something likely to come down on me. But the idea of something making her nervous, now that was scary.
More to reassure myself than to get information I asked, "You said sunlight doesn't hurt you, right?"
"Right," she confirmed, but her voice was nervous.
"Then come on out."
There was a pause. Then she said, "You have to promise not to laugh."
"I promi- wait, sometimes laughing is involuntary. How can I promise not to do something I may have no control over?"
"Promise to try."
Edith tentatively put one foot into the sunlight. She was wearing jeans and a tank top, her jacket tied around her waist as mine was tied around mine, if whatever the secret of vampires and sunlight was was visible, it clearly didn't show through clothing, or didn't happen through clothing.
Then her weight shifted moving onto that foot. And then I saw how light reacts to vampires. It was her hand that hit the sunlight first, but soon she was in it entirely. "Remember, no laughing."
It reminded me of the sun on fresh fallen snow that I'd seen one of the times Charlize and I went to California. We went skiing, I wasn't very good at it. Then again, neither was she. We had a lot of fun anyway. I tried for hours to get a picture or video that would show the way the snow glittered in the light, but never really managed it. It wasn't like the glare of sun off water that can be blinding and leave spots in your eyes, just constantly shifting tiny pinpricks of light.
Light that felt more like starlight, I suppose, than any of the harsh light I associate with direct sunlight. I might miss the sun, I might bask in the sun, but I sure as hell don't look at it. Burns the eyes, but when it hits the tiny imperfections in the seemingly smooth surface of a freshly snowed upon ski slope it's sent in enough different directions that whatever comes your way is interesting rather than blinding. And it makes one wonder if someone standing looking at a snow covered evergreen was the inspiration for Christmas lights, but no one could make lights so small, and the chaotic beauty of it could only be duplicated by hooking the lights up to a random number generator, and having that control their activation, anyway.
The only comparison in nature that I know of is granite scattered with mica flecks and, like I said, I suppose starlight for the unintrusive quality of the light, but no stars could twinkle that much and neither stars nor granite have the light coming from a white background.
So, fresh fallen snow glittering in the sunlight.
So it was with Edith's exposed skin. Her arms from fingertip to shoulder, her face, her neck. Everything else was covered in clothing.
I didn't laugh, I was impressed.
But I understood why she couldn't go out in sunlight. The first thought wouldn't be, "Vampire," it would be, "Alien invader."